Well, after much anticipation, we just returned from Roscommon with rounds at FD and the Loop. Since this topic generated some interest when I posted initially, I thought I'd close the loop (ha) with some takeaways.
Forest Dunes - I loved it, as did the group. Could go on with detail but it's a dandy all the way around.
The Loop ... hmmmm ... well, my humble take is that the reversible design is really brilliant. We played counter-clockwise the first day and then clockwise the second day and I think the biggest compliment I could give is that the second day, it didn't feel like I was playing a golf course backward. Frankly, it really did feel like two different golf courses - but with identical playing conditions (obviously). Only one hole struck me as a little awkward playing clockwise. It rained about 2" the 24 hours before we played and it was still impossibly firm and fast. Looks off the tee were great both ways ... with plenty of width. Love that you could find balls in the long grass too when hit off line.
The green contouring was ... brilliant, diabolical and gratuitous. The internal sloping is utterly confusing most of the time and the sloping around the edges is really penal. I still don't know if it was fun or torture. Respectfully, and notwithstanding the architect's comments in an earlier response, I think the combination of heavy sloping, both internal and along edges leading to severe runoffs along with the firmness of the turf pushes past skillful shot making to something where the vagueries and whim of the turf play an outsized role. For every shot I hit where I gauged the bounce, the rollout and the green contours properly and ended up with a ball close to the hole, I hit 5 shots that I thought were good ... that ended up not. This isn't the wounded musing of a good golfer frustrated that he can't throw darts, it just simply feel that the rewards just aren't balanced. Frankly, why would a designer want to neutralize skill ... make it so that a fine result can come from a shot hit by a scratch golfer or his mother? I don't get it. I guess if the Loop was a members course, and people played it regularly, the green contouring would be better understood and the player could use it to their advantage. Whereas, by definition, people playing the Loop are mostly there one time, without time to become familiar.
Anyway, it's brilliant, innovative, controversial and I'd recommend it to anyone in the area. And by the way, why does it sound (and feel) like the golf course is built on a plywood platform? Is it the sandcapping? Couldn't hardly get over the sounds of the golf course.